Mom’s Meatloaf Recipe

This is my mom’s meatloaf recipe- it is seriously the best meatloaf I’ve ever had- it’s super simple and really easy to make. It’s the ultimate of comfort foods and one of my favorite dinners!

This is my mom's meatloaf recipe- it is seriously the best meatloaf I've ever had- it's super simple and really easy to make. It's the ultimate of comfort foods and one of my favorite dinners!

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Mom’s Meatloaf

My dear husband is always up for meatloaf. He is a meatloaf addict. Seriously. Being that my mom’s easy meatloaf recipe is his (and my) favorite, I figured that I should probably share it with you guys so that you can jump on the meatloaf train. And as you can imagine, J was thrilled as always to find that meatloaf is on the menu for dinner tonight!

What I love about my mom’s classic meatloaf recipe is its simplicity. You’re not going to find random, chopped up pieces of things in it. There are no fancy bells and whistles. It’s not served with a gravy and while I love it with ketchup, you won’t find her spreading ketchup over the top before serving, that’s just not how we roll.

What you will find is a simple, delicious and easy-to-make meatloaf that uses simple ingredients that most of us already have in our refrigerators and pantries. This one is a definite keeper!

meatloaf recipe

Tips for making easy meatloaf

  • Like most amazing mom-dishes, there really are not exact measurements- it’s more a matter of adding the ingredients to the meat, mixing it super well and smelling it to make sure you can smell the flavors. And because I love you guys, we went ahead and measured out the ingredients to make it easier. That being said, I strongly encourage you to only use that as a baseline and to become one with your meatloaf. Smell it as you mix and add more of the ingredients until it smells super flavorful!
  • Make sure it’s not too dry. My grandmother used to say that when it came to adding more dry ingredients, go for cheese before breadcrumbs, as the cheese holds the moisture better. She also emphasized that you want 1 egg per pound of meat. Don’t underestimate the power of a palmful of warm water if it’s seeming too dry after adding your eggs!
  • The baking time will vary based on the size of your meatloaf. You’ll want it to temp out at 165 degrees, since there is raw egg involved.
  • I once had an old roommate who told me that you know meatloaf is there because on the outside it appears to be so brown that it’s almost burned and ruined but really, it’s just perfect.
  • That said you also don’t want to overcook it, so you might consider checking it around the hour point and go from there (unless if you reduce the recipe).

easy meatloaf recipe

Frequently asked questions about making the best meatloaf

  • Can you make this recipe as a turkey meatloaf? Yes, I’ve made it several times as turkey meatloaf. Just make sure you have a heavy hand with seasonings because ground turkey has less fat content and therefore less flavor.
  • How do you make tender meatloaf? The liquid content helps make it tender, but because not to add too much liquid or it can be soggy. Also, try not to overwork the meat. Be aware that when you’re making smaller meatloaves you tend to have more of the crispy edges.
  • Why does my meatloaf always fall apart? This goes back to the last question: not enough liquid. While you don’t want it to be soggy, the liquid is what binds all the dry parts and meat together. It takes a little while to get to the point where you can “feel” the right texture, but once you’ve made it a few times, it gets into your bones. Trust me in this!
  • How long does meatloaf last? 3-4 days covered in the refrigerator.
  • Can you eat cold meatloaf? Yes, as long as it’s been refrigerated. I personally love to slice up the leftovers and eat them on a sandwich with white bread and ketchup (and serve the leftover potatoes on the side). That said, I know people can be weird about leftovers so no judgement if cold meatloaf isn’t your thing.
  • Can I make this as a mini meatloaf or in a muffin tin? Yes! For a smaller meatloaf, just reduce the baking time. I also have a recipe for muffin tin meatloaf.

easy meatloaf recipe

Make it a meal!

A few great recipes to round out and complete this meal would be:

Helpful tools:

  1. Mixing bowl
  2. Chef’s knife
  3. Cutting board
  4. Measuring cups
  5. Measuring spoons
  6. Mandoline
  7. Loaf Pan

Video Tutorial for Mom’s Meatloaf

5 from 1 vote
This is my mom's meatloaf recipe- it is seriously the best meatloaf I've ever had- it's super simple and really easy to make. It's the ultimate of comfort foods and one of my favorite dinners!
Mom's Meatloaf
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Resting time
5 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

This is my mom's meatloaf recipe- it is seriously the best meatloaf I've ever had- it's super simple and really easy to make. It's the ultimate of comfort foods and one of my favorite dinners!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: meatloaf recipe
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Patty Scuteri
  • 2 pounds ground beef (or turkey, in which case be liberal with your seasonings)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs 2
  • 2 large eggs
  • Warm water (optional- only add this to the mixture if its too dry, you want it to be nice and moist. Start with a palmful)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the loaf pan with cooking spray (if you don't have a loaf pan just use a regular pan with high sides and just shape the meat into a loaf).

  2. Mix all ingredients really well. Smell it as you go- you'll want the smell to be strong and flavorful. The texture should be wet without being watery. But you don't want it too dry either. If it's too dry, you can always add some warm water- start with a palmful. 

  3. Shape the meat into a loaf- at this point you can freeze it if you're not looking to eat it right away. You'll want to thaw it before baking.

  4. Place the meat into the pan. Put a small amount of warm water around the corners of the pan. 

  5. Bake for around an hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Rest for 5 minutes and serve immediately.

If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions! And if you make this please tag me on Instagram with @thelifejolie so I can share it <3

Try some other dinners using ground beef:

You can find a full index of my recipes here.

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  • Reply
    January 25, 2016 at 9:20 am I think we all have a favorite "Mom's Meatloaf" recipe. Mine has a ton of onions and ketchup on the top instead of gravy!
    • Reply
      January 25, 2016 at 9:56 am Yeah, mine doesn't have gravy but ketchup on the side is always good for me!
  • Reply
    Mardene Carr
    January 25, 2016 at 11:55 am I have always wondered about how to make meatloaf you know....LOL...Never had a chance to try it but I think I am going to remove my chicken hat for a moment and take the plunge.
    • Reply
      January 27, 2016 at 9:45 am I hope you enjoy it! If you're fully committed to chicken, I bet it would be awesome with ground chicken, just make sure you up the amount of all the flavorings to make up for having less fat and be sure that it temps out at 165 :)
  • Reply
    Maria @ Pastels & Macarons
    January 25, 2016 at 1:50 pm This looks delicious Jessy! I want to make this!!
    • Reply
      January 27, 2016 at 9:44 am Thank you- I hope you enjoy it!
  • Reply
    January 25, 2016 at 6:03 pm I like meatloaf too. They are so easy to make and you can dress them up a ton of ways. Whew, that's making me hungry. Hah.
    • Reply
      January 27, 2016 at 9:44 am It's definitely the ultimate comfort food :)
  • Reply
    CJ Huang | Morsels of Life
    January 28, 2016 at 6:34 pm Can you believe I've never made meatloaf before? This one looks like s simple enough place to start, and you know mom's recipes are always the best! :)
    • Reply
      January 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm It's definitely worth making- I hope you enjoy it!
  • Reply
    Patty Haxton Anderson
    January 30, 2016 at 10:01 am At my little foods to go restaurant, my assistant put together the meatloaf and it was by sight, SMELL mostly and "feel". It's the way all good meatloaves are made! Thanks for linking up at the Let's Get Real Weekly Link Party. Be sure to join us next week, Thursday at 5 p.m. EST! Tweeted and pinned.
    • Reply
      February 2, 2016 at 3:28 pm I'm with you there- my mom has the feel and smell perfected! I'm still working on it.
  • Reply
    February 2, 2016 at 6:18 pm Would not have thought to add romano cheese to meatloaf. Will have to try that. Thanks for sharing at #LetsGetRealSocial
    • Reply
      February 3, 2016 at 9:42 am Yes, we're Italian so Romano cheese pretty much makes it's way into everything haha. Enjoy!
  • Reply
    January 30, 2018 at 11:35 am Aren't mom's recipes the best? Still use several of my mom's "recipes" even though she never writes them down!
    • Reply
      January 31, 2018 at 9:13 am They seriously are, Megan!
  • Reply
    Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen
    January 30, 2018 at 3:16 pm Everyone needs a good family meatloaf recipe!
    • Reply
      January 31, 2018 at 9:13 am Agreed :)
  • Reply
    Megan @ MegUnprocessed
    February 1, 2018 at 12:19 pm I love making my mom's old recipes! Family recipe are the best!
    • Reply
      February 1, 2018 at 4:54 pm I totally agree- they bring back the very best memories!
  • Reply
    February 2, 2018 at 8:59 pm I love meatloaf!! Can't wait to try this recipe!
    • Reply
      February 3, 2018 at 2:04 pm Enjoy Carolyn!
  • Reply
    May 9, 2021 at 5:19 pm Made this today.... cut recipe in half (it's just me I'm cooking for!), baked in my toaster oven, my house smell wonderful while it cooked!! Had 2 slices for dinner - a definite keeper! Thank you for posting, I look forward to trying more of your recipes.
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